It’s ‘value time’ in the Vail Valley |

It’s ‘value time’ in the Vail Valley

Michael Kurz
Vail, CO, Colorado

Ah, the subject has raised its ugly head again ” whether to be or not to be open after the lifts stop running. What comes first, the open shop, restaurant or bar, or the guest?

Well, we’re all trying hard to encourage visitors and the only thing I know for sure is that if guests do come and there’s not much to do, obviously they will do nothing. And, the last time I checked, doing nothing doesn’t make cash registers ring, or provide sales tax to our towns, or keep people working.

My brother (in name only) and past mayor of Vail, Ludwig Kurz, had a great term for this time of year. He called it the “value season.” Right on, Ludie.

Locals and second-home owners have known forever that this is a great time of year to be in the valley. Restaurants and bars aren’t crowded, rooms are a bargain, there’s more time to chat with each other and your favorite servers and proprietors about the season past and upcoming travels, and everywhere the deals are great.

So, what if we just invited everyone getting tax refund checks, or those bored with the flatlands, or those looking to just get some quiet time away from the traffic and neighborhood routine, to come to the valley and spend some time with us when we have even more time to take care of them? What if.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

I can tell you that when I and my spectacularly lovely wife (a gratuitous but true compliment to bank against future transgressions) lived in the big city, we couldn’t wait to come here in the value season. It was wonderfully slow. We didn’t have to make dinner reservations. Parking was free. We could walk for miles and hardly see a soul. The bummer was, and still is, that we didn’t have many choices when it came to shopping, dining and drinking. So, after a couple of sessions catching up with what fun weirdness the locals were up to, we went home.

What if there were more choices? What if, in addition to the stalwarts who don’t mind fewer butts in seats, we added even a half-dozen more businesses to the mix of merchants willing to brave the mud and open their doors?

I can’t help but think that the Vail Valley Partnership and the other local chambers would jump at the chance to promote Vail’s value season as something not to be missed. Let the other resorts shutter up and leave their guests and locals in the lurch. Let us stand as a shining beacon of laid back, super service ready to celebrate the winter, heal the sore joints, take a deep breath and just be in a transforming landscape of quasi-solitude and warm spas.

Don’t get me wrong ” I don’t think we’ll draw thousands away from the buds and blooms on the other side of the divide, but I think we may bring hundreds… just enough to not spoil the mood but have some fun anyway.

I think Ludie’s Vail Valley Visionary Value Season is just enough of a germ of an idea to catch on. So, don’t tell anyone, except your favorite bartender, restaurateur or retailer. They’ll just have to know. But when they find out, they just may want to stay open.

Event update

– April 17: Blue Jeans and Lobster Networking Party, Vail Chophouse. It’s just $60 for an end-of-season party unlike any other. Enjoy lobster, corn cobbettes, new potatoes, baguettes, complimentary Coors and entertainment. For more information, call RSVP to Ruthie Carlson, 970-477-4001 or e-mail

– April 23, 8 ” 9:30 a.m.: Partner101: Benefits Orientation, Vail Valley Partnership offices in Traer Creek, Avon. Members only.

– April 29, 8:00-9:30a.m.: Success in 60 Seconds, at the Chaparral in Cordillera. Members only.

Michael Kurz is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.

Support Local Journalism